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Tikimania in Munich

Bernd Zimmer, Tiki. Ua Pou. 1996. Acrylic on canvas. © Bernd Zimmer, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020.

MUNICH—Tikimania. Bernd Zimmer, die Marquesas-Inseln und der europäische Traum von der Südsee (Tikimania: Bernd Zimmer, the Marquesas Islands, and the European South Seas Fantasies) opened on July 10, 2020, at the Museum Fünf Kontinente.

This unique exhibition is devoted to a selection of works by artist, editor, and philosophy scholar Bernd Zimmer (b. Planegg, 1948) and to Oceanic artworks from the museum’s holdings. The association between the two is rooted in Zimmer’s travels through the Marquesas Islands aboard a cargo ship in 1995 in search of the lost paradise and the ideal of beauty and sensuality that had infatuated Gauguin.

In the course of his trip, his eyes gathered up the colors and light of the environment around him, and upon his return he expressed his impressions through a series of sketches and paintings. One of Zimmer’s recurrent subjects is the tiki, the wood, bone, or stone anthropomorphic representations that are ubiquitous all over Polynesia and to which supernatural qualities are attributed. The preeminence of the tiki explains why this figure became the symbol of these idealized and often imaginary faraway lands in the Western imagination, even beginning with the earliest explorers. The show’s title alludes to this perception and he gains insight into the West’s perception of Oceania.

The exhibition can be seen until February 28, 2021, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.

Practical information:
Tikimania. Bernd Zimmer, die Marquesas- Inseln und der europäische Traum von der Südsee

Through February 28, 2021
Museum Fünf Kontinente

Large tiki figure. Marquesas Islands. © MFK. Photo: Nicolai Kästner.

Club. Marquesas Islands. 1894 or earlier. © MFK. Photo: Nicolai Kästner.

Bone toggle with tiki image. Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands. 1804 or earlier.
© MFK. Photo: Nicolai Kästner.

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